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A summary of important health news from the past week.
By Apoorva Mandavilli, New York Times
A woman has been cured of HIV from a procedure involving a cord blood transplant while being treated for cancer. She is only the third person to be cured of the virus, the first woman, and the first biracial person. Antiretroviral therapy is the most common treatment for HIV and AIDS, but does not fully remove the virus from the body. This patient has no trace of HIV after ending her antiretroviral therapy over two years ago. This is a landmark case in HIV/AIDS research with promising implications for eradicating the virus in the future.
By Eliza Strickland and Mark Harris, IEEE Spectrum
More than 350 people around the world whose blindness was cured or partially alleviated by retina implants are in danger of losing their sight or have gone blind again – because the company that made their implants, Second Sight, has gone bankrupt and abandoned its technology, without handing their care over to anyone else. It may not be possible to remove the defunct systems, which cradle the eye in electrodes, yet their presence may permanently interfere with recipients’ ability to receive medical imaging and MRIs.
By Han Hoffman, New York Times
In an article from the New York Times, Jan Hoffman reports that the Sacklers, the family behind Purdue Pharma, who is at fault for the Oxycontin opioid crisis, raised their offer to settle opioid lawsuits by more than $1 billion. The family and their company currently face thousands of lawsuits related to the opioid crisis due to their prolonged advocacy for the prescription of Oxycontin, even after they knew how addictive this opioid drug was. The Sacklers and Purdue Pharma are currently offering $6 billion to settle these lawsuits, an increase of more than $1 billion from their last offer. The Sackler family is being publicly criticized for not taking personal responsibility for their role in the opioid crisis and continually offering more money to avoid being held liable.
By Emily Langer, Washington Post
Paul Farmer, a physician and humanitarian, died at the age of 62 on Monday. Credited as “one of the most influential global health figures of our time” by Dr. Anthony Fauci, his campaign to improve health care for impoverished populations across the globe brought him international renown and was attributed to saving millions of lives. His work at the helm of Partners in Health, which he co-founded, is still ongoing. The organization has provided health checkups to over 2.1 million women to date.Â
Items contributed by: Gabrielle Stearns, Maryn McKenna, Lexi Rosmarin, Sarah Du